FIRE SMART: Be safe in the kitchen

Lawrie Skolrood provides some tips to prevent fires and injuries

Kitchen fires happen far too often and with Vernon Fire Rescue Services attending two of them over the Christmas holidays, it makes sense to start out the new year with a reminder from the B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner on how to keep your kitchen safe.

Keep Cooking Surfaces

Clean and Clutter Free

Keep appliances free of spills and grease that may catch fire.

Keep curtains, dish towels, plastic containers and pot holders away from hot surfaces.

Operate Microwave Ovens Safely

Always use pot holders or oven mitts to remove food from microwaves.

Be careful when removing a wrapper or cover from food heated in the microwave. Steam escaping from the container can cause a burn.

Take Care of Electrical Cords

Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many kitchen appliances.

Check electrical cords and plugs and discard them if they are damaged.

Install Working Smoke Alarms

Purchase and install working smoke alarms. Specialized alarms with a pause feature are available for the kitchen to prevent nuisance alarms.

Test smoke alarms monthly. For battery-operated smoke alarms, replace the batteries at least once a year.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for other maintenance information.

Stay in the Kitchen When Cooking

Never leave cooking unattended. Oil or fat can easily ignite.

Always turn elements off when you are finished cooking.

Turn off or unplug electrical appliances when you are finished using them.

Keep children a safe distance from the cooking area.

Cooking requires you to be alert. Avoid cooking when under the influence of alcohol or medications.

Wear Short or Tight–Fitting Sleeves

Avoid loose sleeves that may dangle into flames or onto hot elements.

Keep the area around your stove free from items that may burn.

Turn Pot

Handles In

Prevent burns by turning pot handles toward the back of the stove when cooking. By doing this pots cannot be pulled or knocked off the stove.

Whenever possible use the rear elements.

If You Have a Fire in Your Home

Get everyone out.

Call your local emergency number from a neighbour’s phone.

Consider Using a Fire Extinguisher only if the Following Conditions Exist

Everyone has left the building.

The fire department has been called.

The fire is confined to a small area.

A clear escape route exists between you and the fire.

There is an appropriate, working fire extinguisher available.

You have read the extinguisher instructions and have received training in its safe operation.

If the fire does not go out,  leave your home immediately.

Lawrie Skolrood is deputy fire chief with the Vernon Fire Department.